Do not read if you’re far down in the dumps

  1. Bowdlerizing the anodyne
  2. Banning assault dogs
  3. Poopy-head’s plan is constitutional
  4. Not the craziest person onstage


Choral concert coming this weekend. Despite how she detests it, our conductor decided that, in the totality of the circumstances and given the theme of the concert season, we just had to do Let There Be Peace on Earth.

Okay, but I wish she hadn’t programmed a bowdlerized version of the already-anodyne thing:

  • Anodyne: … With God as our father, brothers all are we …
  • Bowdlerized Anodyne: … With God our creator, children all are we …

It’s infantilizing (“children”) and heretical (God doesn’t “create” children — that’s crypto-Arianism). I feel micro-aggressed.


[I]magine we’re going through one of our periodic moral panics over dogs and I’m trying to persuade you that there should be restrictions on, say, Rottweilers.

Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog?”
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.
Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the f***.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don’t need to own.
You: Can we?

Because I’m just talking out of my ass, the impression I convey is that I want to ban some arbitrary, uninformed category of dogs that I can’t articulate. Are you comfortable that my rule is going to be drawn in a principled, informed, narrow way?

Last night the President of the United States — the President of theUnited States — suggested that people should be deprived of Second Amendment rights if the government, using secret criteria, in a secret process using secret facts, puts them onto a list that is almost entirely free of due process or judicial review. Because we’re afraid, because they could be dangerous was his only justification; he didn’t engage the due process issue at all. But he was merely sauntering down a smooth, comfortable, well-lit road paved by most Republicans and Democrats before him since the rise of “tough on crime” rhetoric and especially since 9/11.

(Popehat. Don’t read the rest unless you’re willing to endure fairly extreme scatology — and blunt candor. Don’t forget the candor.)

Note that the AMA and the ABA are among those engaged in virtue-signaling by opposing “military-style assault dogs weapons.”


Donald Trump’s latest shenanigan (now I must rush to publication before he makes that characterization untimely) left me initially speechless, and continues to put me in a very dark mood, as a sort of straw that broke the camel’s back.

But what I feared has come to pass: the experts have noted that his obnoxious and xenophobic plan is constitutional (here and here).

So we’re now in a spot where GOP rivals who say he’s ugly, and his mom dresses him funny, and he’s a poopy-head — those folks may be closer to the mark than those who inveigh that his plan is unconstitutional.

Be it noted that:

  • In its original, premeditated version, where Muslim citizens would not be re-admitted if traveling abroad, it was indeed unconstitutional, but poopy-head has already revised that version.
  • The first of the two experts, apparently a progressive, thinks that if ill-informed Americans think it’s unconstitutional, the Supreme Court might want to consider catching up/dumming down.


Like I really needed another downer, Rod. Well, I inflicted it on myself.


So: How big a downer was it? It was about the study of the humanities today, and it was so massively “down” that this conclusion was logical:

You know how I feel about Donald Trump, and it’s not favorable, but let me say this: In a world gone as insane as our own, it ought not surprise us that to a lot of ordinary people, Trump is far from the craziest person on the public stage. I think he’s a dangerous man, but very far from the most dangerous man, or woman, in America. The thing about Trump is he’s willing to be uncool — and people like that about him.

There is power in not giving a rat’s rear end what people think. It can be used for ill, or it can be used for good. In the case of the humanities, it’s the only thing that will save them. And not just the humanities.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.